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Even if you take yourself much too seriously to be a bona fide Kiss fan, there are plenty of reasons to argue why Ace Frehley remains the coolest member. He shreds the fretboard of a Les Paul that shoots smoke and sparks. He has the best laugh in rock ’n’ roll. He plays leads a million times better than Paul Stanley. He said “diarrhea” during his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. He survived a crash driving a DeLorean 100 mph on the wrong side of the Bronx River Expressway—and still named his autobiography No Regrets. His former bandmates are still trying to drag his name through the dirt, but he just shrugs and keeps playing music.
Frehley enlisted Ken Kelly—who painted the covers of Kiss’ most popular albums, 1976’s Destroyer and 1977’s Love Gun—for the cover art on his sixth solo album, Space Invader and it’s fitting: The first single, “Gimme a Feelin’,” is totally reminiscent of his best moments as the Spaceman. He comes right out of the gate with pyrotechnic leads and riffs before the song shifts gears into a hard-rock boogie that manages to sound both retro and fresh.
Seven years of sobriety probably had something to do with Frehley’s voice sounding well preserved, and his lyrics are still as fun and festive as rock ’n’ roll is supposed to be. Likely musing on his fiancé, power-pop chanteuse Rachael Gordon, he sings, “Baby you’ve got what it takes to jangle my brain.” But it’s his winding, space-delayed solos here that are sure to stir up memories of why some of us have a thing for orange sunburst Les Pauls and illegal fireworks. acefrehley.com